W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > April 2003

Re: URI for language identifiers

From: Miles Sabin <miles@milessabin.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2003 09:34:41 +0100
To: www-rdf-interest@w3.org
Message-Id: <200304040934.41941.miles@milessabin.com>

Patrick Stickler wrote,
> Again, as I've tried to clarify several times, I see two distinct
> issues here:
> 1. The determination of ownership of a URI
> 2. The rights of an owner of a URI to specify denotation.
> The first issue can involve legal machinery, the latter need not.
> One can view this first issue as a determination of who has
> the right to create a particular URI, insofar as that URI intersects
> with matters of copyright, property rights, trademark law, domain
> ownership, etc.

I don't think anyone is having any trouble understanding what you're 
saying. We just think you're wrong.

There are not, to the best of my knowledge, any rights of ownership of 
URIs recognized by any legal system anywhere in the world. Unless you 
can point to concrete legislation or case law I really don't see any 
point continuing this discussion any further.

Even if there were jurisdictions which recognized such ownership rights  
you'd have to deal with the fact that such jurisdictions are local and 
multiple, hence that ownership rights wouldn't give you the univocal 
denotations you want.

The most you can claim is that there are ownership rights associated 
with domain names, and that where trademarks (or slanderous/defamatory/ 
libellous/hate-speech statements) appear embedded in URIs then in some 
jurisdictions some kinds of use of those URIs might be touched on by 
trademark (slander/defamation/libel/hate-speech) law. As with ownership 
law, this too will be local and multiple, so also won't give you 
univocal denotations. And in any case, it's is a far cry from what 
you've been claiming.

It's easy to illustrate: here's a freshly minted URI,


and I assert that it denotes this thread. If you're right, you and your 
employer should be able to take some action to prevent this. I 
encourage you to try. In the unlikely event that you make any progress 
at all, it would make an interesting test case.


Received on Friday, 4 April 2003 03:34:54 UTC

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